On Tuesday the Eagles of Mt. San Jacinto defeated the Hornets from Fullerton. Coach Steve Alonzo and his crew were coming off a 13 – 1 thumping by East LA on Saturday, in which the pitching staff issued 13 walks. Pitching Coach Michael Wolford helped correct his young staff immediately. Andrew Shepard got the start for the Eagles and did not disappoint. He was effective and threw strikes, particularly early in the game and in the counts. The Jac only used two pitchers in this contest. Another righty, Ryan Zapata came in and ended up finishing this one out, in impressive fashion. Zapata earned the victory as he closed down the Hornet attack.
Pitching and defense, although not as glamorous as offense and home runs, can win ball games. This was certainly true this afternoon at the Eagles Nest. A strike-throwing pitcher can keep his defense in prime position to make the plays when needed. With Shepard and Zapata completing that important task, it let the defense stay in the game, and not zoning out about video games. The infield, led by shortstop Kevin Gameros played an outstanding game. The play of the day happened when a Fullerton player hit a smash to center field. That is Joseph Hauck territory, and he covers it well. The speedy centerfielder got a great jump on the ball and secured the catch with a bit of a dive at the end to make sure he secured it. A spectacular catch and it saved not only runs, but it may also have saved the game.
The offense was patient and laid off of breaking balls early in the count. The offense was also hit by pitch 5 times in this contest. Base runners are important to producing runs and the Jac had runners on in every inning. Perhaps the offensive star of the game was right fielder Carson McCafferty who delivered a clutch, 2 run, stand-up triple for the Jac.
Wins against the Orange County teams early in the season like this can propel a team in many categories, such as confidence. We will see how it affects the Eagles here as we progress through the early part of the season.